Health Shelf with Mark Howard

For Australian sports journalist Mark Howard, books offer a world of inspiration and reflection.

Helping to pass time while travelling, guiding adventures through new cities and providing hours of entertainment with his kids at the local library, books are an enriching and informative part of Mark Howard’s life. The floating bookshelf in the living room of his family’s home is Mark’s creation and houses some of his favourite titles. Here are a few that jumped out…

With travel a big part of his life, Lonely Planet guidebooks line the shelves. From surfing hot spots to cultural explorations, these well-thumbed pages have led Mark and his partner Erica on a path of discovery and now provide a daily reminder of journeys travelled.

Nearby sits Total Recall, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s autobiography, which Mark describes as one of the best books he’s read in a long time. He explains that he wasn’t really a fan of Arnie before reading it, but picked up a copy while at an airport. The story of how he came from nothing yet stopped at nothing to achieve what he wanted – from bodybuilding, to starring film roles, to becoming a governor – was a message Mark found incredibly inspiring.

Alongside this is one of Mark’s all-time favourite books, The Alchemist. Paulo Coelho’s classic tale follows the journey of Santiago, a young Andalusian shepherd who ventures to Egypt after having a recurring dream of finding treasure there. Besides this is J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, another much-loved read.

As a sports commentator and TV presenter, sporting idols and their stories rank high for Mark, and Andre Agassi’s autobiography Open takes the cake. “The first 35 pages are the best 35 pages of a sports book I’ve ever read,” he says. “It’s all about him getting up to play a match. It’s near the end of his career, he’s won everything, he’s the best tennis player there has been for a long time, but the self doubt he is wracked with every morning is unbelievable.”

Accompanying these sit the memoirs of cricketing legends, stacks of surfing magazines, a collection of fictional stories and a few sci-fi novels – a little insight into Mark’s interests and literary leanings.

Q&A with Mark Howard

How has working in the world of sport impacted your own health and fitness?

It has had a really positive impact, mainly because I work with athletes all the time who are really fit and healthy people. The best example is working on the Kellogg’s Ironman Series. You sit in the commentary box and spend all your time watching these guys on the beach who are the fittest people inAustraliaand they’re such great, positive role models. You get to travel with athletes and go to the gym with them, and they show you different ways of training or swimming or running – they are a massively good influence on me.

What are your favourite sports to commentate?

Cricket starts up in December and I’m beside myself about that. I love cricket. I grew up watching it and playing it, so to get the opportunity to do the cricket is really good. The upcoming winter Olympics will be brilliant as well because we get to commentate on those crazy sports we never get to see.

What are your career highlights?

We get to do a lot of fun things. I’ve been for rides in V8 supercars, tried hang gliding, rode on the back of a motorGP bike and went parachuting – the thrill side of the job is really cool. Interviewing people, the true superstars of sport like Tiger Woods, David Beckham and Michael Schumacher, is also unbelievable. We did a game of soccer for Channel Ten and Beckham was great, he answered heaps of questions and when he introduced himself he said, “Hi, my name is David.” I was thinking to myself, err yes, I know!

Do you have a sporting idol?

Allan Border. When I was growing up watching cricket in the mid-80s,Australiawasn’t that good but Allan Border was. IfAustraliawas going to do any good, it was how Allan Border went. He was one of those blokes who was never the best player or the most stylish player, but he was the most gutsy player. Hence the fact that I like Steve Waugh – he’s not necessarily the most talented, but the one that sticks with it the most.

To watch Mark in action be sure to watch sport on Channel 10 this summer.

Recommended reading - Recipes on-the-go

Lifestyle

On-the-go breakfast ideas

Easy, delicious ways to kickstart your morning - even when you’re in a rush.

Read more
Recipes

6 quick and easy breakfast ideas

6 easy and healthy breakfast ideas for an inspiring start to the day.

Read more
Recipes

Quick and easy pizza dough recipe

Chef Adrian Richardson’s foolproof pizza dough recipe is ideal for simple summer meals.

Read more
Recipes

Banana buckwheat pancake recipe

There's nothing quite like pancakes for breakfast. Enjoy this wholesome recipe from Lesh Karan.

Read more
Recipes

Homemade Toasted Muesli recipe

This muesli is quick and so yummy – especially when you have a serve straight from the oven.

Read more
Recipes

Coco-Cacao Truffles Recipe

Power up your afternoon with these scrummy treats

Read more
Recipes

Apple and oat pancakes recipe

Warm, oaty pancakes served with rich stewed apples – the perfect way to brighten up your weekend

Read more
Recipes

Roasted apricot yellow couscous with grilled fish recipe

Bill Granger believes in a relaxed approach to good food. Here, he shares a family favourite.

Read more
Recipes

Avocado smash recipe

Avocados are an Australian breakfast staple. Try an Italian twist on your avocado smash.

Read more
Recipes

Vietnamese pho soup recipe

Fresh, healthy Vietnamese Pho soup recipe you can make at home.

Read more
Recipes

Asparagus, leek and pea tart recipe

Asparagus, Leek and Pea Tart is a delicious and easy dish for lunch or dinner.

Read more
Recipes

Sticky date pancake recipe

Wind up your weekend workouts and treat yourself with these delicious sticky date pancakes.

Read more
Recipes

Barbecued island beef recipe

A dish inspired by coconuts and green pastures

Read more
Lifestyle

Salsa verde recipe

This classic condiment by Peter Kuruvita is great with anything, especially barbecued meat

Read more
Recipes

Vietnamese salad recipe

A fresh, healthy summer salad that’s perfect for lunches.

Read more
Recipes

Cucumber and corn salsa recipe

A refreshing corn salsa perfect for summer.

Read more
Recipes

Simple berry bircher recipe

A bircher muesli that takes 2 minutes to prepare - leave overnight and enjoy for breakfast.

Read more
Lifestyle

Carrot and lentil salad recipe

Brighten your day with this hearty salad

Read more
Recipes

Quinoa sushi bowl recipe

Love sushi? Try this unwrapped quinoa sushi bowl recipe for an interesting variation.

Read more
Recipes

Persimmon, rocket, blue cheese and candied walnut salad recipe

The softly sweet taste of persimmons brings Poh Ling Yeow's fresh and healthy salad to life

Read more
Recipes

Cherry smoothie recipe

Cool down this summer with a low-fat smoothie packed full of cherry superpowers.

Read more
Recipes

BBQ lamb cutlets recipe with a yoghurt, feta and mint dipping sauce

Five:am Yogurt provides natural, healthy products. Here they share a delicious recipe for lamb.

Read more
Recipes

Grilled peaches with vanilla ricotta recipe

Enjoy the last of this season's peaches with this delicious recipe from Rachael Finch.

Read more
Recipes

Prawn and mango salad recipe

To kick off Australia's Healthy Weight Week, Sprout Cooking shares a fresh and juicy salad recipe.

Read more
Recipes

Peach and ham crispbread recipe

Savour the stone fruits and impress your guests with a tasty appetiser by Rachael Finch.

Read more
Lifestyle

Pumpkin soup recipe

This simple winter favourite is spicy and fragrant with ginger, nutmeg and cumin

Read more
Recipes

Chargrilled Mediterranean and macadamia salad recipe

The creamy goodness of Australian macadamias paired with chargrilled Mediterranean veggies

Read more
Recipes

Butternut pumpkin tagine recipe

Infused with spices and full of flavour, this pumpkin tagine is comfort food you feel good about.

Read more
Recipes

Lentil shepherd’s pie recipe

A tasty vegetarian twist on a classic, this tasty pie is what chilly winter days were made for.

Read more
Recipes

Thai pumpkin soup recipe

Creamy smooth pumpkin soup with a kick of hot chilli, fragrant lemongrass and coriander.

Read more
Recipes

Crumbed chicken and salsa in pita recipe

Emily Rose Brott shares a great chicken recipe for kids.

Read more
Recipes

Minestrone soup recipe

This minestrone by Dani of Fitness, Food and Style is packed full of antioxidants.

Read more

For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.